Finishing the Homeschool Race Well, Mama
Our family went on a bike ride this weekend. We felt like the Von Trapp family as eight of us cycled down the road and onto the bike path. We sang and laughed and enjoyed God’s creation. The feeling of content that we have when the whole family is together is like no other. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Let me tell you the rest of the story. . .
It took three hours to work on all of the bikes to get them in working condition. Three hours of sweaty children asking, “Is it time to go yet?” (It’s already hot here in sunny California!) Three hours of tired attitudes to contend with as inner tubes were patched and chains repaired and the general maintenance that eight bikes requires.
This was our 4-year-old’s second day of riding without training wheels. And we decided to pick this day to have a family bike ride–very interesting parenting choice, indeed. I spent most of the time walking my bike next to him and encouraging him along as the others raced ahead. There were lots of tears shed because he was either afraid of going too fast or falling down or was too tired. But we pushed through to the end, and amazingly he was so happy, he wanted to ride again within an hour of getting home.
As I contemplated the afternoon, I saw several parallels to the homeschooling journey.
It takes a lot of preparation and often some hard work to go on a big journey. Homeschooling is a big journey. The preparation and hard work will pay off, but we have to make an intentional decision to set other things aside and get ready to go. It is a daily choice to put aside something else and do the hard stuff. We must put aside procrastination, comparisons, distractions, and weariness and get down to the hard work of finding out the problem areas with our children and working with them towards solutions.
Bad attitudes will arise, whether in your children or yourself, and can be caused by minor irritations or daily frustrations. Look up from those for a minute and look forward to the race set before you. You must fight that enemy of selfish ambition and look toward that contented moment of being in stride with your family right where God wants you to be.
The kids were right next to their dad learning how to repair their bikes so that they could do it themselves the next time. It was sometimes tedious and not always easy but they pushed through, and now they have an idea of how to help themselves in the future.
This is our goal of education: having our children learn right alongside us so that they grow in independence. It’s going from riding with training wheels to riding with ease, but in between we will all have some wobbling times and falls with scrapes and bruises. But we teach our kids to get up and keep going, especially when they see us press through the hard times in prayer and confidence in God ourselves.
If we prepare and start well and hang on during the rough times and the tears–if we cling tightly to the LORD, we will enjoy a beautiful contentedness of finishing the race well. You can do this. You can keep your children Home Where They Belong.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-22)
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor and Director of Production here at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She would say she is a very ordinary homeschool mom–with one exception: she has an extra-ordinary God Who provides all she needs for life and homeschooling. She has eight children aged 11 to 29. Deborah’s mission is this: to point other homeschoolers to the Lord in all they do, think, and feel—and to confirm that they, too, can find everything they need for life, godliness–and homeschooling–in their knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3, 4).